Editor’s Note: Our next stop on our journey to every region in USY brings us to the Northeastern United States, where sports teams win championships constantly and Boston accents run wild. I’m talking about NERUSY, of course. Like any region, NERUSY has its fair share of traditions. In this blog post, NERUSY junior Sam Bloch describes one of his favorites for all of you to enjoy.
From the outside, a NERUSY Spring Convention is just like anyone else’s Spring Convention. We have ruach and slowach (slow ruach) just like everybody else. We elect a new Regional Executive Board just like everybody else. It seems like your average USY Spring Convention. However, there’s a short span of 30 minutes or so on Friday night that set NERUSY Spring Convention apart.
After most of the icebreakers and Shabbat traditions have concluded on Friday night, NERUSYers pull dinner tables and chairs together and sit down for a tisch. For 30-45 minutes, NERUSY sits down with their beloved B’Kol Echads and just sings songs: ruach songs, slowach songs, whatever songs they may want to sing together. As one song ends and the room goes silent, anyone can say out loud or to the Rel/Ed Vice President a song they’d like to sing, and NERUSY sings it accordingly. The tisch is in a more mellow mood, somewhere in between the pace and intensity USYers experience during ruach and slowach sessions.
To me, along with many other NERUSYers, this tisch is a perfect example of a great way to spend Shabbat. Shabbat is meant to be a restful time, where we can reflect on anything we choose. During this tisch, USYers get a chance to reflect on how special this USY environment is. Being able to sit around in a room full of USYers, and relax together helps us think about the fact that most of us don’t ever truly get to relax in our hectic lives, and that getting to actually do so in a room with 100-150 of your best friends is an opportunity that does not come too often.
At the same time, this experience helps USYers to create and strengthen the connections they have with the rest of the region and with their Jewish identity. In the extremely secular world in which we live, it’s not too often that we get to outwardly and proudly embrace our Judaism. Tisch allows the USYers to outwardly express their Jewish pride just as most other USY activities do, and it helps forge bonds with the people participating in that meaningful experience with them.
From the outside, a NERUSY Spring Convention is just like anyone else’s Spring Convention. We have ruach and slowach just like everybody else. We elect a new Regional Executive Board just like everybody else. It seems like your average USY Spring Convention. But, one short span of 30 minutes helps USYers bond with Shabbat, Judaism, NERUSY, and the 100-150 best friends surrounding them along the way.
Sam Bloch is a proud member of the junior class in NERUSY. He comes from Providence USY, and serves on his chapter board as Executive Vice President, as well as serving as a USYer Connection Chairperson on Membership/Kadima International General Board.